It’s no accident that our home base is close to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, where adventure opportunities abound! Outcome, however, doesn’t automatically arise from opportunity. This month exemplifies that discrepancy: between wildfire smoke/asthma issues, work obligations and other commitments, we got in exactly two bike rides, no hikes, no kayaking trips and several walks. It’s hard to put together a blog post of epic outdoor experiences from that set of activities.
Developing an Adventure Mindset
But that’s not a problem. Why? Because over the years I’ve come to realize that developing an adventure mindset is at least as important as creating opportunities to summit a mountain, paddle along the shoreline of a turquoise mountain lake or pedal farther than ever before. To me, an adventure mindset is a blend of intention, awareness and reflection:
- Intention – A commitment to trying something new and with an uncertain outcome. This could be a new-to-you trail, a new piece of gear, a new activity, setting out determined to experience a familiar location from a different frame of mind or something else that prompts a fresh take.
- Awareness – Mindful attention to the difficult, the humourous, the easy, the beautiful, the colourful, the boring, the fun, the revealing, the joyful, the “whatever” of the experience.
- Reflection – Assessing what parts of your intended adventure sparked joy and what parts you could do without, so that you learn from each experience and are set more informed intentions for the next adventure.
In the words of executive coach and adventurer Matt Walker: “At the core, adventure is the willingness to commit to an uncertain outcome with an open heart and a willingness to learn and engage. It is the ability to take a leap into the unknown with mindfulness and grace. Framed this way, opportunity for adventure presents itself to us everyday.”
To be clear, it’s not easy to maintain an adventure mindset. I frequently revert to behaving as if “adventure = epic photo at the destination.” But that’s okay, because reflecting on those outings gets me back on track. 🙂
Now that I’ve got the philosophizing out of the way, it’s time for this month’s photos:
1. Poppy by Lensbaby
Several days this month, Mr GeoK’s work commitments had me out and about on solo adventures. I decided to opt for neighbourhood nature walks, with a twist. I’d mount the Lensbaby Sol 22 lens I bought two years ago and work on improving my skills with this manual-focus, tilt-shift lens. Because of those lens characteristics, I have to slow down and work at getting a well-composed shot with just the right part of the frame in focus. To continue improving my skill with this lens, I’ve started a new series on my Relive account, that I’m calling Lensbaby Flâneur. Curious about why I chose the term flâneur? Check out this short 5-step guide on how to be a flâneur.
Sorting through, processing and incorporating theses Lensbaby photos into a video recap of my nearby nature adventures is a form of reflection that helps me figure out what works and what doesn’t work with this lens. One of my favourite shots from my first Lensbaby Flâneur is this pretty pink blossom from a poppy garden along the Calgary Greenway.
2. Second (and Last?) 2021 Ride on the Bow Valley Parkway
Early in the month, we got out for our second -and what turned out to be last – ride of the year on the Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Johnston Canyon. As usual, it was a fantastic road ride and there were plenty of riders taking advantage of this unique cycling opportunity. We made several photography stops, including this one where Mr GeoK was keen to get a close-up of the yellow and pink wildflowers. Despite riding this route more than half a dozen times between this year and last, it was the first time we noticed this wildflower field. I’m glad we stopped to get some photos, because we just learned yesterday that as of today, the road is open to motorized vehicles for the rest of the year. So we’ll probably wait until next year’s abbreviated “enhanced cycling opportunity” to ride this road again.
3. Gardening Adventures
August brings the harvest phase of the annual vegetable gardening adventure. I pulled all the garlic and it’s drying in the garage. I will have to save some to plant in October because my favourite garden supplier is already sold out of garlic bulbs! Gardening is one COVID hobby that seems to have staying power with a lot of folks!
The size of the carrots seems very dependent on which raised bed I pull them from. So I know which bed requires additional soil remediation for 2022.
The red onions are delicious, but small. It’s an opportunity to learn how to prepare the planting area for onions to increase the size of next year’s crop. And, BTW, onion sets are also sold out at my favourite garden supplier. So I’ll have to keep an eye out for onion sets when garden centers open up next spring.
As for the kale and Swiss chard, I will enjoy these home-grown organic salad greens as long as possible into September. They are thriving, and there’s plenty left for me after sharing with neighbours and with the yellowjackets, caterpillars and slugs. 😉
4. Backyard Bumblebees
We gave wide berth to the bald-faced hornets’ nest we discovered in our front yard several years ago. But since this year’s discovery, I’ve spent a few hours sitting outside watching bumblebees come and go from the underground nest they’ve established under our backyard patio. Sometimes they come straight in, land on the edge of the patio and crawl down into the nest. Other times, they circle around in intricate patterns before dropping like a hovercraft straight to the entrance. At first they were all the same size, and quite small. Now I’m seeing a both small and large bumblebees – the same variety – which makes me want to learn more about the life-cycle of a bumblebee colony. This photo made me smile, as it looks a bit like a bumblebee aerodrome, where the bees are lining up for take-off. 🙂
5. Atop Three Sisters Creek Waterfall
I have never ventured to the top of this waterfall. It requires a hand-clinging toehold ledge shimmy of several meters, with a three to four meter drop if you fall. But Mr GeoK doesn’t suffer acrophobia, so he confidently made his way to the top of the falls while I was going the long way around via the creek bank.
We savoured this mini-adventure because access to this waterfall is across privately-owned land. And while there’s a designated, provincially-signed trail across their property to the lower waterfall on this creek, the landowner has started to enforce their private property rights. So we’re not sure about access to this special spot on a go forward basis. We’ll take whatever access we can get, for however long it’s permitted.
Want to get started cultivating an adventure mindset? One easy way to get started is by asking yourself how you can turn any outing into a great story. Whether it’s a detail you never noticed before, a new-to-you route, a totally new activity, sharing a repeat adventure with someone new or some other twist, thinking about telling the story of your adventure helps you pay attention (aka be mindful). And if you go a step further, and actually tell your story (whether in a blog post, an Instagram story, a Relive video recap, on TikTok, writing in a paper journal or some other way, you’ll reflect on your experience and hopefully learn something from it. All which which helps cultivate an adventure mindset!
To see what kind of adventures the rest of the Photo Blogging Challenge participants enjoyed in August, head on over to A ‘lil HooHaa.
And if you’d like to join the PBC fun, the theme for September is It’s Your World! All you need are five photos. How much writing to go with those photos? Entirely up to you! Hope to see you in the link up a month from now.